Since we haven’t seen a Ford product in this series since this Fox Granada four months ago, and we just saw three GM cars in succession, I decided this week would be the turn of a once-plush Ranchero GT Brougham, now fallen on hard times in a San Jose self-service wrecking yard.
One of the hallmarks of the Malaise Era was the use of big, wild graphics and interior gingerbread on the kinds of vehicles that had powerful engines just a few years earlier. This Ranchero has some great stripes and dramatic-looking GT emblems.
It was already well into hooptie territory when it got into its career-ending wreck.
This cartruck is from the Ranchero’s final generation, which was based in the midsize 1977-1979 LTD II. GM kept making El Caminos and Caballeros until 1987, while Chrysler made front-wheel-drive Rampages and Scamps for the 1982 through 1984 model years. We’ve seen discarded 1978 and 1979 Rancheros so far in the Junkyard Find series, and it’s nice to have the complete set now.
Try to imagine this Ranchero a quarter-century ago, full of Raider Nation revelers beer-bonging Meister Brau, chain-eating Rel’s gas-station burritos, and vomiting a partially digested mixture of both onto the asphalt of the Oakland Coliseum North Lot.
Or go back another 15 years, and imagine the optimism of the original purchaser of this fine luxury truck, with its Brougham badges and in-your-face graphics.
The 1977 Ranchero GT came with a 351 Modified engine, rated at 148 horsepower. That’s about 26 horsepower per liter, which compares not-so-favorably with the 107 horsepower per liter of the 3.5-liter Ecoboost in the 2017 F-150.
The upholstery did a good job surviving the California sun.
I couldn’t find any 1977-79 Ranchero TV ads online, so we’ll watch the one for the version with no truck bed. Isn’t it you in an LTD II?